The Vile Inanity Of Lauren Boebert

UPDATE #2: And after all that hullabaloo, Rep. Lauren Boebert is the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation to not vote on the Equality Act:

No matter what side of this issue you’re on, your time has just been wasted.

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UPDATE: Colorado Democrats led by Rep. Brianna Titone of Arvada volley back hard:

Statement from Colorado Legislative LGBTQ Caucus: “We, the Colorado Democrats LGBTQ Caucus, strongly condemn the hateful and dangerous words of Congresswoman Boebert. Her words hurt people, propagate dangerous tropes, and cause mental distress to those she berates. When leaders like Congresswoman Boebert use their position of power to fuel tropes about trans people, a group facing discrimination, violence, and poverty all over the globe, they exemplify why we need The Equality Act now.

“In her speech, Congresswoman Boebert incorrectly stated that this bill is willing to lay down the rights of millions of Americans, especially women. The truth is that the Equality Act protects and restores the rights of millions of Americans, especially womxn and children. We, the Colorado Democrats LGBTQ Caucus, stand with the Equality Act, because Trans Lives Matter, BIPOC Trans Lives Matter, and trans children deserve to live safe, healthy lives free of fear and hatred.”

Statement from Representative Brianna Titone, D-Avada, the Chair of the LGBTQ Caucus and the Second Transgender Woman Ever Elected to a Statehouse: “Colorado has come such a long way from when we were deemed the ‘Hate State’ in 1992. Congresswoman Boebert’s words seek to bring us back. Coloradans deserve to be shown respect and dignity from Congressional leaders, but she has instead attacked children and endangered the lives of trans kids in Colorado and in every community in our country. Congress must pass the Equality Act, and everyone who claims to stand with the LGBTQ community should condemn the congresswoman’s dangerous remarks.”

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Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

AP reports via the U.K. Daily Mail on debate in the U.S. House over the Equality Act, legislation that would establish discrimination protections for all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification–a bill that would update federal law to be consistent with Colorado’s own robust anti-LGBTQ discrimination laws on the books for years:

The Democratic-led House is poised to pass a bill that would enshrine LGBTQ protections in the nation’s labor and civil rights laws, a top priority of President Joe Biden, though the legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

The Equality Act amends existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.

While this legislation is expected to clear the narrowly Democratic House, the “Q-some Twosome” freshmen Republicans in Congress, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, are doing everything they can to fill the debate over protections that are settled law in Colorado with wildly inflammatory misinformation about transgender people in particular:

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican who’s in the past peddled the QAnon conspiracy theory, said at the morning press conference that allowing trans women to play sports with cisgender women would lead to lost opportunities and even injuries for the latter.

‘Is Kamala Harris going to apologize to the girl who would lose her athletic scholarship to the boy who outplays her? Will Joe Biden tell the parents who gets her skull crushed, how fair that is? Will Nancy Pelosi please explain to our daughters why boys pretending to be girls are leering at them in the girls’ locker room?’ Boebert said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also appeared at the press conference, has spent the past day in a symbolic fight with her Congressional neighbor, Rep. Marie Newman, who has a trans daughter.

In a floor speech yesterday, Rep. Boebert warned ominously of girls in locker rooms being accosted by “confused men trying to catch a peek.”

First of all, the reference in this speech to an incident of domestic violence, the details of which we do not know, is hypocritical in the extreme after both Boebert and her husband faced mutual domestic violence charges as documented by the New York Post back in January. It would take more audacity than we possess to go there with that kind of hypocrisy on our own conscience (assuming, of course, the existence of one).

The more important point here, though we’re not specifically aware of Lauren Boebert having run for office on a platform of gutterball transphobia, is that this kind of over-the-top bombast appears to characterize Boebert’s approach to every single issue. There’s no having a civil dialogue about LGBTQ discrimination with Boebert, it’s always going to devolve into a contrarian shouting match defined by the most lurid terms Boebert can reach for. Just like there’s no rational discussion possible from Boebert about climate change. Or tax policy. Or health care. Or guns. Or…well, you know, anything.

If you’ve ever known someone like this, you know how exhausting it can be to deal with.

Now imagine serving in Congress with that person.

Colorado GOP Won’t Be Out-Crazied by National Republicans

Colorado is a blue state. As we’ve written many times in this space, there is simply no denying the results of the 2018 and 2020 elections in our state: Democrats won bigly and Republicans lost equally, uh, hugely.

But if you thought Colorado Republicans might do a little soul-searching and try to figure out a way to reverse this trend, you’ll be interested to know that the local GOP is all aboard the “election fraud” crazy train that has been crisscrossing red states in America for the past couple of months. Since Republicans don’t seem to know how to get more people to vote for them, they are actively working to figure out ways to make it harder for people to vote in general.

Kyle Clark of 9News recently discussed nonsense Republican claims of voter fraud in relation to a dumbass bill introduced — and quickly killed in committee — by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument):

Meanwhile, the top two contenders to become the next Chair of the Colorado Republican Party are STILL OPENLY RUNNING on the idea that Donald Trump really won the 2020 Presidential election, facts be damned.

From the new Axios Denver newsletter:

Top leaders in the Colorado Republican Party are doubling down on the baseless idea that voter fraud cost President Donald Trump the 2020 election. [Pols emphasis]

Republican state lawmakers cited the potential for fraud as the reason they introduced a handful of bills that would make it harder to vote.

The top contenders for Colorado GOP chair, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current party vice chair Kristi Burton Brown, are advocating for a recount of the 2020 vote and review of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Colorado.

Why it matters: The Colorado GOP is embracing the same debunked claims of a stolen election that helped propel a mob of Trump supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Gessler has already had to find a new email provider after MailChimp cancelled his account for repeatedly spreading the evidence-free claim that the 2020 Presidential election was rife with fraud.

Clockwise from Far Right: State Sen. Paul Lundeen, State GOP Chair hopeful Kristi Burton Brown, former SOS Scott Gessler, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert

Nationally, the fraud rhetoric will be on full display this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida; the keynote speaker is none other than former President Trump himself, which is problematic for any Republicans trying to establish a post-Trump political identity. As POLITICO notes, GOP contenders looking ahead to 2024 are finding that you can’t spell “Republican” without “Donald J. Trump”:

“There isn’t a Trump lane. There’s a Trump Turnpike with multiple lanes and multiple people,” said Chris LaCivita, a veteran GOP strategist who most recently headed the anti-Biden super PAC Preserve America.

Conversations with more than a dozen Republican consultants, strategists and officials depict a party over which Trump exerts an irresistible gravitational pull, pointing to his continued strength in polls and the megawatt energy he generates among the GOP grassroots.

Trump’s grip on the Republican base and his effect on the minds of White House hopefuls is so total, they say, that the path to the GOP nomination is best defined by the degree of loyalty to Trump — to the point where party operatives reach for elaborate metaphors to best convey the extent of his influence.

Both Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are scheduled to speak at CPAC on Sunday. [Side note: Former Congressman and multi-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is also speaking at CPAC for some reason] Boebert has not wavered from her claims of election fraud — though it wasn’t a concern in her district, apparently. Buck, on the other hand, has vacillated on the topic depending on the day he is asked; it would be no surprise if he repeated lies about 2020 election fraud in his speech on Sunday.

Trump’s insistence that the 2020 President election was stolen led directly to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Trump’s role in stoking that insurrection made him the only President in American history to be impeached TWICE, though Senate Republicans were too weak-willed to do anything about it. You would think Republicans would be well-served by not trying to draw attention back to Jan. 6, but the GOP base is not so easily sated.

Republicans have plenty of other problems heading into 2022, including trying to explain their open embrace of white supremacy, but their stubborn refusal to stop talking about something that didn’t happen will keep them tethered to minority party status for the foreseeable future.

Arizona Senator: Screw Those Pesky Voters

Arizona state Sen. David Gowan (R).

This week in a Colorado Senate committee, as readers know, a Republican bill to substantially roll back our state’s highly successful mail ballot election system was defeated in a 4-1 bipartisan vote. Freshman GOP Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined majority Democrats to reject this highly ill-conceived “solution in search of a problem” bill. Given that Colorado’s election system is both highly popular with voters and proven to be safe and accurate over the course of multiple election cycles, introducing this bill made very little political sense. If anything, the bill’s purpose and swift demise only highlighted once again the profound lack of credibility in Republican allegations of election fraud, both here and in other states.

But as Howard Fischer reports for the Arizona Daily Star today, there are other states, especially those where the election was closer than it was here, where the GOP’s sour grapes over 2020 resulted in something much worse:

Facing some blistering criticism and the possibility of harming Republican reelection efforts, a Southern Arizona lawmaker has pulled the plug on a proposal to let the legislature override the choice of voters for president.

Sen. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said his SCR 1006 simply recognizes that the U.S. Constitution gives lawmakers the ultimate power to choose electors. What his proposal would do is actually allow them to exercise that authority by requiring a special legislative session after every presidential vote to “investigate the results” and decide what result to certify.

It’s one thing to engage in vote suppression by restricting ballot access, early voting times, and other such tactics that are unfortunately fairly common in states that purposefully game their election systems for partisan advantage. But building in a process requiring the legislature to consider overriding the vote in a presidential election, as Arizona Sen. David Gowan proposed, would normalize the possibility of that occurring–which would open the door to state legislatures doing this whenever it suits them politically.

And that would be the end of American democracy, folks:

Alex Gulotta, state director for All Voting is Local, said there’s no factual basis for the proposal. Instead, he said, it “helps perpetuate the big lie” that the 2020 election was somehow stolen. And pointed out that nothing in SCR 1006 requires lawmakers to cite any cause or reason for replacing the judgment of a majority of voters for their own.

“The will of the people is replaced by our new overlords,” Gulotta said. [Pols emphasis]

While it’s a relief to see that this bill was allowed to die by its sponsor after its extremely negative political implications were apparently communicated by fellow Republicans, it’s very important that every American take note of the fact that such a manifestly undemocratic piece of legislation was introduced at all. There is no evidence in Arizona or any other state substantiating the claim of election fraud sufficient to change the outcome, which means there is no rational basis for creating a process to overturn election results.

If you’re willing to take this extreme step for no good reason other than your candidate lost, American democracy may just not be your thing. You’re entitled to your opinion, but your moral authority to hold elected office is pretty much forfeit.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 25)

Snow day! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Coronavirus news!

Governor Jared Polis is “thrilled” at the news of a potential third COVID-19 vaccine, this one from Johnson & Johnson.

Employees at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley will finally start receiving COVID vaccinations (no thanks to Cory Gardner).

As The New York Times reports, COVID rates at nursing homes across the country are declining much faster than in other populations.

 

► Congresswoman Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, has committed to visiting Grand Junction, the new home of the Bureau of Land Management. As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post:

Haaland told Democratic Sen. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday that she will visit Grand Junction as she weighs whether to keep the headquarters there or return it to Washington, D.C.

“I will look forward to consulting more on this issue with you and I understand that we absolutely need to make sure that the staff members are — that we have a full team there at BLM,” Haaland said during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

After years of bipartisan lobbying by Colorado politicians and Grand Junction business groups, the Department of the Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move its headquarters to the Western Slope city and expand its presence at other non-D.C. offices, including one in Lakewood.

About 87% of the agency’s D.C.-based employees quit in response and environmental groups accused then-President Donald Trump of dismantling the agency that oversees the nation’s public lands. Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, also a Democrat, have long supported the headquarters move and both said Wednesday that they welcome Haaland’s visit.

 

What’s going on at the State Capitol? Glad you asked…

The Colorado Sun reports on efforts in the state legislature to give sexual assault survivors more time to file suit against their abusers.

Westword takes note of four ridiculous pro-gun measures being introduced by Republican lawmakers.

Fox 31 Denver looks at legislation meant to hold careless drivers more accountable.

CBS4 Denver reports on legislation that would ban the use of high school mascots that may be insensitive to indigenous populations. CBS4 Denver also reports on a plan to create a “Health Service Reserve Corps” modeled after the National Guard.

Denver7 reports on three bills related to “woofs” in Colorado.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Thursday Open Thread

“If you are going to ask yourself life-changing questions, be sure to do something with the answers.”

–Bo Bennett

Boebert Deserved Even More Than $22,260 for Mileage, Says Former Campaign Manager

(Moar miles! All the miles! No receipts necessary! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) actually deserves much more than the $22,260 she had initially paid herself for miles-driven during her successful election campaign, says her former campaign manager.

“The truth is, Congresswoman Boebert could have claimed even MORE miles!!!!” wrote Sherronna Bishop, who goes by “America’s Mom,” on Facebook Feb. 3.

Bishop’s Facebook post has surfaced just as Boebert’s office decreased the number of miles used to justify the congresswoman’s $22,260 reimbursement. The campaign added hotel expenses, which had not been previously included. The $22,260 Boebert paid herself, now including $17,280 for miles, remains the same.

“We drove 25,000 miles during the primary alone,” wrote Bishop on Facebook.

“The third district is massive,” wrote Bishop, who managed Boebert’s primary campaign. “5 hours one way to Pueblo, another 5 back up to Jackson County… then another 4 over to Cortez, CO. And these ‘circle back’ (sorry) trips happened weekly. For nine months. Then came the general election.”

Bishop didn’t say specifically how many more miles Boebert could have claimed, but at the Internal Revenue Services’ mileage reimbursement rate of 57.5 cents per mile, the Congresswoman could have asked for as much as $14,375 for the alleged 25,000 miles driven during the primary.

The primary took place June 30, and Boebert announced her campaign in early December, so she would have driven the 25,000 miles over an approximately seven-month primary period, not nine months as cited by Bishop.

I was unable to reach Bishop or Boebert, so it’s impossible to know how many of the alleged 25,000 miles Boebert paid herself for. Boebert claimed a mileage reimbursement check of $1,060 at the end of March, which would cover approximately 1,843 miles driven during the primary, leaving 23,157 miles that could have been driven between April 1 and the June 30 primary. Some of these remaining 23,157 miles, possibly driven from April through the June primary election, could have been included in her November reimbursement check of $21,200.

Reporters were unable to figure out how Boebert could have driven enough miles (approximately 38,870) to justify the $22,260 total reimbursements (in March and November), even without taking into account Bishop’s statement that the congresswoman actually under-reported her miles driven.

The congresswoman’s mileage payment is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Still, Boebert and Bishop have both argued that criticism from reporters and ethics experts of the large reimbursement figure isn’t justified.

Bishop

“The bias, the slander, the false allegations. It’s disgusting, but not unexpected,” wrote Bishop on Facebook in reference to the criticism of Boebert’s $22,260 payment to herself.

For her part, Beobert had made no mention of hotel expenses in defending her $22,260 reimbursement, before her campaign reduced the miles and added the hotel costs.

“If someone official comes to you and says, ‘Can you show us where you kept records of your mileage,’ you got something you can hand them?” KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky asked Boebert Feb. 11, before Boebert reduced the number of miles claimed.

“I absolutely have,” replied Boebert.

RELATED:We Had To Take the Long Way,’ says Boebert in Justifying in Explaining 22,259 Mileage Reimbursement.

According to the Federal Elections Committee (FEC), candidates do not need to provide receipts or other proof of travel when submitting reimbursements but must save receipts for their own records for three years following. Large travel expenses over $500 require a report including the name of the vendor.

Colo Times Recorder freelance writer Gabrielle Bye contributed to this posst.

What History Will Record In The End (Hopefully)

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

It didn’t get much press–and that’s a thing we need to talk about–but last week, Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet announced they are signing on as sponsors of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021: the first legitimate attempt at a comprehensive immigration reform package since 2013’s Gang of Eight negotiations (which also included Sen. Bennet) led to the passage out of the Senate before dying in the GOP-controlled House:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today joined over twenty of their Senate colleagues and dozens of members of the House of Representatives to introduce the bicameral U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. The comprehensive immigration reform bill is modeled after President Biden’s bold, inclusive, and humane framework for the future of the United States immigration system.

The legislation would provide millions of hardworking, undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, including Dreamers, Temporary Protective Status (TPS) recipients, and essential workers who have made enormous sacrifices during the pandemic; prioritize family reunification and keeping families together; and bolster the country’s long-term economic growth. The bill would also equip the country to responsibly and effectively manage the border with smart and effective investments, address root causes of migration that force people to leave Central America, and restore the United States’ commitment to human rights.

“For decades our broken immigration system has stifled our economy, undermined our security, and violated our country’s proud heritage as a nation of immigrants. We’ve seen this failed system play out in particularly horrific fashion over the last four years as families were ripped apart and children were housed in cages,” said Hickenlooper. “Today’s bill represents a comprehensive approach to tackling this challenge once and for all, including a much-needed, fair path to citizenship along with smart investments to effectively and responsibly manage our borders. It signals a new day in aligning our national values with our immigration policy.”

If passed into law, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would go considerably beyond the failed 2013 immigration reform bill by providing a three-year path to citizenship for green card holders, immediate green cards for “DREAMers,” and temporary legal status for undocumented immigrants already in the country with good records. It keeps families together in the U.S. during immigration proceedings, and clears visa backlogs for students and needed workers. It funds citizenship and English language instruction. And yes, it has money for border security as well–the smart kind, not the dumb wall-based variety.

But as we said at the beginning, buzz about this new ambitious proposal has been surprisingly lacking here in Colorado despite the active participation of both of the state’s U.S. Senators. One reason for this may be that finding the Republican Senators necessary to go along with any comprehensive immigration reform package is going to be difficult–likely more so than in 2013. In 2013, 14 Republicans joined with unanimous Senate Democrats to pass the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by a lopsided 68-32 margin. If the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 gets to President Joe Biden’s desk, it’s almost certain to do so with less Republican crossover support simply due to the rightward drift of that party in the meantime.

Another reason we unfortunately suspect Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper are not getting the credit they deserve for being part of this campaign, however, is local intra-Democratic politics. After Hickenlooper’s easy primary victory in 2020 and perhaps in anticipation of an underdog primary challenge against Bennet in 2022, there seems to be some reluctance to acknowledge politically positive developments involving our two Senators when they occur–and a great deal of focus on miscues that, while deserving of criticism, are just not of the same magnitude as the good they’re trying to do.

That’s a mistake. And in the event Bennet and Hickenlooper do get comprehensive immigration reform passed after all these years of trying, they’ll have both thanks and a few apologies coming.

Amber McReynolds Might Get to Can Postmaster General

Amber McReynolds

Amber McReynolds, the former Director of Elections for Denver and the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, is apparently set to receive an interesting nomination from President Biden. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden will nominate a former U.S. Postal Service executive, a leading voting rights advocate and a former postal union leader to the mail service’s governing board, according to three people briefed on the nominees, a move that will reshape the agency’s leadership and increase pressure on the embattled postmaster general…

…If confirmed, the nominees would give Democrats a majority on the nine-member board of governors, with potentially enough votes to oust DeJoy, who testified Wednesday before a House panel that his new strategic plan for the mail service included slowing deliveries.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was being grilled today by the House Oversight and Reform Committee about his plans for dealing with delivery problems and economic issues facing the U.S. Postal Service.

As Paul Waldman writes in a separate column for The Washington Post:

To refresh your memory, DeJoy, a Republican mega-donor with no experience in the USPS, was appointed to lead the agency in the spring of 2020, despite having been beset by allegations of abusive practices at his business, conflicts of interest and potential campaign finance law violations. This came after President Trump had spent years attacking the Postal Service.

DeJoy quickly took steps, supposedly in the service of cost-cutting, that had the effect of slowing down mail delivery. You probably noticed it.

While the president does not directly appoint the postmaster general, DeJoy was selected by a Republican-dominated Board of Governors, and his selection was understood as being in tune with Trump’s venom for the USPS — a complicated story in itself that may have its roots in Trump’s burning jealousy of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, which uses the USPS extensively to send packages.

Biden can not directly fire DeJoy, but a new Board of Governors could certainly make a change at the top of the USPS. McReynolds is a registered “Unaffiliated” voter but would likely work with a new Democratic majority on the Board of Governors to find a replacement for DeJoy.

Boebert Calls Bullcrap On Colorado’s Public Lands

Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline reports that although long-sought legislation to extend protections to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in Colorado is moving ahead hopefully in 2021’s narrowly Democratic Congress, freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert wants nothing to do with this hippie crap:

First-term Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert told members of a key House committee on Tuesday that she hadn’t been consulted on H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. Introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Denver, the latest version of H.R. 803 is a package of eight public lands proposals including the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act and the Colorado Wilderness Act.

Together, the two bills would establish new or permanent protections for more than 1 million acres of federally-owned land across Colorado, the vast majority of it in Boebert’s 3rd Congressional District. Boebert has consistently opposed both proposals.

“This bill is being rushed through with no committee hearing, no committee markup, no witness testimony,” she said while testifying as a witness in a virtual hearing of the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. “Public land decisions should be made with local collaboration and input, or at the very least the member who represents the affected district.” [Pols emphasis]

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reports, the central problem here appears to be that nobody talked to Boebert about the bill–which is further evident from her apparent lack of understanding of what the bill does:

[Rep. Diana] DeGette told the rules committee that the acreage covered in the Colorado Wilderness Act has almost all been managed as wilderness study areas since the 1980s, and a recent poll showed two-thirds of people on the Western Slope support increased wilderness…

Boebert cited the concerns she said she has heard about DeGette’s measure from county commissioners first as a candidate and now in Congress.

“I believe that my election shows the polling in my district. [Pols emphasis] They understand that I was there to advocate for multiple use on public land,” she said.

Notwithstanding the perennial objections of Republican local elected officials, the additional protections in these bills are in fact very popular among Boebert’s constituents in CD-3. This is also not a new proposal by any stretch–Rep. Diana DeGette has been trying to pass the Colorado Wilderness Act since 1999, and the CORE Act has similarly been a bone of partisan contention for years. As for Boebert’s election in 2020 serving as a barometer on this or for that matter any nuanced political issue, that’s just silly–but if Boebert wants to go there, let’s start with how she held the seat for Republicans by a smaller margin than Scott Tipton ever did.

There’s nothing unexpected here, there was never a doubt Boebert would be a reliable vote for the oil and other extractive industries that wield tremendous influence over Republican politics on the Western Slope. But as an advocate for the industry, Boebert is simply not effective with her colleagues. And the blowback Boebert faces for opposing a large majority of Coloradans on the issue of protecting public lands outweighs the benefits of publicly grandstanding against them.

Perhaps the only upside to all of this for Boebert is that as long as we’re talking about her opposition to protecting Colorado’s public lands, we’re not talking about grifting or insurrection.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 24)

You had better find your snow boots; the Front Range is looking at a big snowfall later today. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The United States surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, but as The Associated Press reports, good news is on the way:

COVID-19 vaccine makers told Congress on Tuesday to expect a big jump in the delivery of doses over the coming month after a rocky start to inoculations, and the companies insist they will be able to provide enough for most Americans by summer.

By the end of March, Pfizer and Moderna expect to have provided the U.S. government with a total of 220 million vaccine doses, up from the roughly 75 million shipped so far.

“We do believe we’re on track,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said, outlining ways the company has ramped up production. “We think we’re at a very good spot.”

That’s not counting a third vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, that’s expected to get a green light from regulators soon. The Biden administration said Tuesday that it expects about 2 million doses of that vaccine to be shipped in the first week, but the company told lawmakers it should provide enough of the single-dose option for 20 million people by the end of March.

Here’s more from CNBC on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is believed to be effective with just one dose.

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Coloradans could see more vaccine availability next week:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed the state is expecting to move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan “on or around March 5,” but didn’t offer any details about whether everyone in that phase would be eligible at the same time.

“Providing accurate and accessible information around vaccines and vaccination is a priority for Colorado and we will continue to do so as we prepare for the upcoming phases,” a representative of the state health department wrote in an email.

Gov. Jared Polis has said that a new phase will start when about half of eligible people in the previous phase have received the vaccine.

Check out The Denver Post story for more information on the next round of eligibility for vaccines. CBS4 Denver has more on a recent hearing in Congress about vaccine availability chaired by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver).

Elsewhere, health officials in Jefferson County say they have reached a goal to vaccinate more than 70% of the county’s population of adults over the age of 70.

 

Back in December 2020, Colorado Pols first told you about an unusually-large reimbursement check that Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wrote to herself in what appeared to be a blatant violation of campaign finance rules. The story has only gotten worse for Boebert since then, and this week her campaign made a clumsy attempt at re-explaining the questionable reimbursement. As Justin Wingerter explains for The Denver Post:

On Monday, Boebert’s campaign filed an amended report to the Federal Election Commission, reiterating that Boebert received $21,200 on Nov. 11 but claiming it was a reimbursement for mileage, travel expenses and hotel stays. Mileage accounted for $17,280 of the reimbursements, the campaign says…

…Boebert’s reimbursements and the Post’s reporting led to complaints this month with the FEC and the Office of Congressional Ethics, neither of which has said it will investigate. Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director of the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, said Boebert’s amended report does not affect their FEC complaint that was filed Feb. 8.

“These expenses should have been disclosed in her December 3, 2020, report,” Kuppersmith said. “Either she didn’t keep the required mileage logs, or her treasurer didn’t ask for documentation before he reimbursed her for all of these expenses. The Boebert campaign has proven that its FEC reports are unreliable, so the FEC should properly audit the campaign to determine where else they may have failed to comply with the law.”

Colorado Public Radio, Fox 31 News, and Colorado Newsline have more on Boebert’s amended filing, which also claims reimbursements for Uber rides.

 

A State Senate committee killed a legislative attempt by State Sen. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) that sought to make it MORE difficult to vote in Colorado. Republican Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa joined with Democrats in snuffing out Lundeen’s dumb bill.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Investigate, Please: Boebert Reimbursement Scandal Deepens

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter has more in a new story this afternoon:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign has publicly acknowledged that a prior campaign finance report — which raised ethical red flags and led to multiple requests for investigation — was inaccurate. Still, the campaign defended a large payment to the congresswoman…

Boebert called the controversy “much about nothing” and said it was generated to distract from Reps. Ilhan Omar and Maxine Waters, two Democratic congresswomen who have paid family members with campaign funds.

In the weeks before amending her campaign finance report, Boebert defended her own mileage reimbursements. She told radio station KHOW on Feb. 10 that she “absolutely” had documentation that showed she had driven the miles she was reimbursed for.

It’s time to release that documentation. All of it.

And make copies for when investigators ask for it too.

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The ongoing controversy you read about here first over an unusually large reimbursement paid out from Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign funds in November, coming justt after Boebert paid off almost the same amount in accumulated liens on her restaurant in Rifle, took a problematic turn yesterday after the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reported that Boebert has amended her mandatory Federal Election Commission filing on this reimbursement:

Donors buy, Lauren Boebert flies.

This would appear to directly contradict Boebert’s previous contention that she had driven over 30,000 miles in just a few months on the campaign trail in 2020, as the Colorado Times Recorder’s Jason Salzman reported on Feburary 10:

Following up on information first uncovered by ColoradoPols, The Post calculated that Boebert needed to have driven 38,712 miles during the 2020 campaign to justify the reimbursement, and The Post and CPR were unable to figure out how she could have reached that number of miles. They analyzed Boebert’s travel schedule and other public information…

Boebert said, “I drove tens of thousands of miles all throughout the district. I was somewhere new every single day.”

“I am doing the work of the people. I had to make those connections. And really, I under-reported a lot of stuff,” she added.

She said she and her campaign driver, now a co-worker, put “more than 30,000 miles” on her vehicle. [Pols emphasis]

Here we have Rep. Boebert claiming less than two weeks ago that she did indeed drive the exceptional number of miles she reimbursed herself for, specifically stating she drove “more than 30,000 miles” and justifying this figure in part by citing the closure of I-70 during wildfires last summer. But now she’s told the FEC that the reimbursement wasn’t just for mileage–but also for hotels?

It looks to us like Boebert may be having, you know, trouble justifying that check! The complaint filed against Boebert with the FEC earlier this month alleges that Boebert did not keep itemized expense records, and Boebert has refused to provide a detailed accounting of her expenses to inquiring press since this scandal broke. Huffington Post’s Ryan Grenoble:

Boebert’s campaign appears to have failed to keep adequate records of the candidate’s expenses and has been unable to substantiate the mileage reimbursement, the complaint alleges. The campaign declined several requests from Colorado media outlets to provide evidence of her travel. [Pols emphasis]

And now, Boebert is changing her story. At this point, it’s definitely time for a full-scale forensic investigation to get to the bottom of what happened here. Between the large sum of money Boebert pocketed, the suspicious timing of her “mileage reimbursement” relative to paying off her accumulated tax liens, and now the shifting explanation of what this reimbursement was even specifically for, there’s just no way we can continue to take Boebert’s word for any of this.

This scandal has progressed from “not passing the smell test” to stinking to high heaven.

500,000 Dead Americans, Zero Apologies From Colorado GOP

Having officially passed the tragic milestone of half a million Americans dead, we can say with certainty today that the COVID-19 pandemic was not a “psyop.”

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams got it wrong:

“I’m going to rant just a bit,” wrote Reams on Facebook. “I understand that nobody wants to catch Coronavirus but statistically, even if you catch it you’re likely to be just fine. [Pols emphasis] What I’m concerned with is our Country catching a huge case of socialism. We (our government) has self imposed an economic crash in the name of saving us from a virus and now they are offering the “solution” through money that isn’t really available; let’s call that debt. If you read the attached article, examine what is being suggested and ask yourselves if this is makes sense. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather take my risk with the virus then socialism.”

So did Reams’ buddy, Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck:

Fauci and his team insisted that the best-case outcome for the virus was between 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities stemming from the coronavirus. But that was before the number was revised down to 75,000. And, that was before it was revised down again to 60,000. Surely, more revisions are to come… [Pols emphasis]

Play this nine infuriating seconds of video:

 

Remember former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville downplaying the threat in the most offensive terms:

Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.

“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, as first reported by 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized…” [Pols emphasis]

And a joke now ex-Sen. Cory Gardner told last August that did not age well:

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ [Pols emphasis] Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” Gardner told a laughing crowd.

If we had the time and inclination, we could write a book just about Republicans in Colorado who made tragicomic fools of themselves by disregarding the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of the crisis. Had these politicians only endangered their own safety, recounting their stupidity in hindsight would involve more comedy and less tragedy. Unfortunately, it is this willful disregard for public health and safety for the purpose of election-year posturing on the part of Republicans that has led directly to the United States suffering more illness and death from COVID-19 than any other nation.

None of them have said they were sorry. Most of them never will. As a nation we may be too numbed and fatigued to be outraged. But everyone who scoffed at this possibility owes an apology now that this once-unthinkable death toll from COVID-19 is a reality.

At long last, have they no shame?

Tuesday Open Thread

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance–it is the illusion of knowledge.”

–Daniel J. Boorstin

House Committee Passes COVID Relief, Boebert Calls Bullcrap

UPDATE: CD-3 Democratic candidate Kerry Donovan returns service:

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Rep. Lauren Boebert calling bullcrap on your relief check.

The Hill:

The House Budget Committee on Monday advanced President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on a 19-16 party line vote.

The bill must still be marked up by the Rules Committee before consideration on the House floor, likely on Friday or Saturday. The legislation will then have to be taken up in the Senate, where it is expected to face considerable procedural and political challenges…

Republicans on the panel…slammed Democrats for advancing the bill through budget reconciliation, a process that will allow them to pass it without GOP support in the Senate, saying the legislation amounted to a “liberal wish list” and arguing that many of its provisions have nothing to do with the pandemic.

“This is the wrong plan at the wrong time, and for all the wrong reasons,” said ranking member Jason Smith (R-Mo.), pointing to $350 billion in state and local aid that he said would encourage lockdowns. [Pols emphasis]

Republican objectors on the House Budget Committee included Colorado’s own Rep. Lauren Boebert, who for reasons we have not been able to precisely determine was appointed by Republican House leadership to the House Budget Committee. Holding forth eloquently, Rep. Boebert fired off her now-signature line:

In our experience Rep. Boebert generally cuts and pastes the talking points given to her verbatim, but the suggestion that the aid to state and local governments in the relief legislation is “bailing out the blue states” who have “mismanaged their budgets” is particularly galling coming from a representative of Colorado. Colorado, as everyone who is familiar with our state’s fiscal situation knows, runs one of the tightest budgetary ships in America under the draconian constitutional chokeholds on both taxing and spending imposed over the years. Colorado has no means of backfilling the massive revenue shortfalls brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and absolutely no “mismanagement” in Colorado is to blame for an economic crisis that has literally swept the globe.

Whether Boebert doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the needs of the state she was elected to represent in Congress, at a certain level, is irrelevant. The reality is that Colorado desperately needs the fiscal aid Democrats are trying to provide over Republican objections, for which the only alternative is devastating cuts to essential services Boebert’s constituents rely on. Boebert’s casual disregard for the needs of her district, from individuals hanging on for that $1,400 direct payment to the local governments across CD-3 for whom this relief is an essential lifeline, is insult piled on the injury of the long delay.

And it is “bullcrap,” just not the way Boebert thinks.

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